Ace Lydia wins national title

Lydia Powell clinched the women's doubles title alongside Jess Hopton at the U19 English National Badminton Championships 2015 in Milton Keynes
Lydia Powell clinched the women's doubles title alongside Jess Hopton at the U19 English National Badminton Championships 2015 in Milton Keynes

Hastings can proudly lay claim to possessing a national badminton champion.

Lydia Powell clinched the women’s doubles title at the U19 English National Championships 2015 in Milton Keynes last weekend.

The 18-year-old also reached the women’s singles final, but was disappointed not to clinch that title as well in her final season at junior level.

She said: “I’m still really disappointed about the singles because that’s the one I really wanted, and it’s taken me a little bit of time to think I’m still a national champion anyway and to do that is still an amazing achievement. It’s definitely one of the things I wanted to tick off regardless of what event I’ve done it in.”

Powell and Jess Hopton (Avon) justified their number one seeding in the doubles by edging out second seeds Ira Banerjee (Hampshire) and Jessica Pugh (Yorkshire) 21-15, 20-22, 22-20 in a dramatic final.

It was the third time Powell and Hopton have beaten Banerjee and Pugh this season having also got the better of them in the Swiss Junior and Wimbledon International tournaments.

“We played really, really well,” continued Powell, who has won several national silver and bronze medals in the past. “We could’ve taken the second set, but we managed to refocus and win the third. It was quite nervy towards the end of the third.”

The doubles final came soon after second seed Powell had been narrowly beaten 21-19, 10-21, 17-21 by top seed Banerjee in the singles decider.

“If I had played my best I think I would’ve won it, definitely,” said Powell, who felt she didn’t play particularly well throughout the singles event.

“To go to three playing the way I did was quite unexpected. She did play really, really well and it was just one of those days. I definitely had my chances to win it.”

Powell had earlier been made to work harder than she would’ve liked to reach the singles final. She was taken to three sets by Fee Teng Liew (Buckinghamshire) and Kirby Ngan (Avon) in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively having comfortably seen off Tanya Pinto (Hampshire) in round two.

Powell and Hopton reached the doubles final with straight sets victories over Tiara Samuel (Derbyshire) and Emily Rose Witts (Nottinghamshire) in the quarter-finals, and the Dorset pair of Lynnlette Aung and Ciara Lindsay in the semi-finals.

Next up for Powell is a Swiss League match this weekend followed by the Dutch Junior and German Junior tournaments. She is seeded in the singles and doubles at the Dutch event, which will be attended by a number of talented Asian players.